Christopher Padfield  -  Post Formal Education - nurturing and growing talent?

I live on work on a 4th generation family farm on the Gloucestershire / Worcestershire border.  It is a mixed farm consisting of a Beef fattening joint venture and growing combinable crops.  We have been direct drilling all crops including maize for the last decade.  The farm is entered into an HLS scheme which is central to our focus on creating wildlife habitat around the enterprise. We also run some stubble to stubble contracting.

After working abroad in Ghana, Guinea Bissau and France, I worked for a local agricultural college mainly assessing NVQ qualifications.  I also achieved qualifications in Internal and External Verification and a PGCE (adult education).  I then set up a small training company where we offer training services, mainly LANTRA and City and Guilds qualifications, aimed at the land-based skills sector.

When not working, I love riding motorbikes and drinking whisky.  Not a great combination though a recent biking trip to Islay managed to get the best of both worlds.

I would like to thank all those supporting my Nuffield Scholarship, not least the Central Region Farmers Trust for their sponsorship, and my wife and parents for their support and backing.


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I am particularly interested in how farmer workers access training and continuous professional development in the workplace. I would love to be involved in agricultural training where CPD is seen as a positive, beneficial proposition. Too many times training (skills or safety) is seen as an imposition or obstacle to the business.  I would like to find out how farmers in other countries rate their educational experiences, both for themselves and their staff, and how they access ongoing training.  I would like to explore different ways of nurturing and growing talent, and transferring knowledge for those who have left formal education. I am also interested in investigating the use of on-line training materials as a tool for knowledge transfer and self guided learning.

With the increasing sophistication of equipment, it would also be interesting to see how (or if) manufacturers provide training to customers. In addition,  what role regulatory and certification bodies can and do play in providing training, or creating a framework for CPD.